Author Topic: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven  (Read 2114 times)

Steelystan

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Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« on: 09:41:23, 25/11/08 »
A couple of weeks ago Mike asserted that the secret to winter walking was good head torch, which prompted me to rush out buying two Petzls for me and t'missus.

This Saturday I found myself coming down the North escape of Great Gable to Moses trod finally reaching the path at dark and alone.  It was bitter, but thankfully dry (well frozen too).  The head torch got me back to Honister safe and happy.  Although I had my two compasses at the bottom of my bag, I thought I'd stupidly left them at home, so used my map, residual light on the horizon, and of course the torch to make rough bearings when clear trace of Moses trod ran out after about 500 yards.  I got across the lower slopes of Brandreth and Grey Knotts to Dubs bottom and found the old tramway without difficulty by following cairn lines which I could make out using the boost feature on the torch.  After that, its straightforward.

Its so easy to say, "Oh I wasn't in any real danger etc etc" but had I not got such a good mental image of the area, and the help of the torch, it would be really dicey.  Imagine being further out like at Pillar.

Anyway - thanks Mike - I'll put a beer in front of your beard when I get a chance.

mike knipe

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #1 on: 10:35:10, 25/11/08 »
:-[Must have caught me on a good day, most of the time I just talk blx.
Not nice to be stumbling about those hills at night with no light.. but it sounds like you used a fair amount of skill in finding your way off too..
Cheers for the beer, though (all hail to the ale)! :D
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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howardfernlover

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #2 on: 20:26:06, 25/11/08 »
I have a particular problem with the short days in November and December. 

I don't know how many times I've set out to do a walk of about seven miles or so, and completely forgotten beforehand how early it gets dark in the afternoons at this time of the year, as a result of which I'm hastening, although tired, along the last mile or two in the increasing dusk, feeling just a little panicky inside until I have reached my car.

The best answer, I know, would be to start earlier, but I'm not one of these up at dawn people, I don't get out of bed until the hour starts with an eight, and then I fart about at home getting my gear ready and making sandwiches.  Driving to the start of a walk takes thirty to fortyfive minutes, maybe more.  My average walking speed is just over two miles an hour, what with keeping stopping to take photos and look at things.  Add to that a stop for the sandwiches, plus a similar length of time if there's a pub on my route, multiply that if there's more than one pub, and you can see why I get caught out.

mike knipe

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #3 on: 22:01:00, 25/11/08 »
This happens to me - I can't get me [censored] out of bed and I often drive for a couple of hours to a walk...  But if I can plan winter walks to have the last few miles on a lane or a bridleway or something similar, then I'm not too unhappy about the fact that its gone dark.
One of the boozahs that I sometimes frequent is also four miles from home along an old railway trackbed. Walking there and back in the dark is quite enjoyable, specially if there's a moon, and I've usually sobered up by the time I get home...
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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howardfernlover

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #4 on: 22:26:12, 25/11/08 »
That sounds a bit like Strathcarron in Wester Ross where I was in August.  Apparently the easiest way of walking home from the pub at night was along the railway track.  It was a more direct route than the winding road, and there was no danger of getting hit by cars (nor trains at that time).

I suppose there's also less chance of you getting mugged or beaten up on your trackbed!  But if it's an old one, you've got no lines glinting in the moonlight to guide you?

Mind you, it must be a damn good pub if it's worth walking four miles each way.



mike knipe

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #5 on: 22:37:31, 25/11/08 »
No railway lines - its now the Deerness Valley Walk which goes from Crook to Durham. When we first moved up here, there was just a 200 foot deep open cast hole with big tonka toys moving about in the bottom - now its all restored and its a long strip of woodland. Unusually, for a railway line, it goes over a 800 foot high hill, so its quite a pull to the top.  very slim chance of getting mugged and you just follow the stars....
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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Ian s

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #6 on: 10:10:37, 27/11/08 »
The only things likely to mug you in Strathcarron are the deer that leap out in front of your car and try to get you to invest in your local bodywork repair shop.

Wester Ross's version of a Somali pirate. with antlers.

Ian
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howardfernlover

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #7 on: 10:41:58, 27/11/08 »
The only deer we saw was one curled up asleep at the back of a car park somewhere in the Highlands, where we stopped to eat our lunch on our journey back to England.

We thought at first it might have been ill or injured, but then it came to life and strolled across to our car looking to be fed.  He tried to get his head in the car window, but couldn't because of his full set of antlers.

Then a coach came along the road and pulled in, whereupon we found our car surrounded by all the passengers as they took photos, with us sat in the car munching our sandwiches.

You can just see the rear of someone's motor home on the left of my photo.



mike knipe

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #8 on: 10:44:56, 27/11/08 »
Is that at the top of the Black Mount road - above the zig-zags after Bridge of Orchy?  If it is, there's a bloke who feeds the deer at night, which is why they hang around the car park.... watched them one night whilst having my car recovered by the RAC after the suspension came adrift....
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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Ian s

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #9 on: 11:10:21, 27/11/08 »
It's a local hot news story. Allegedly the guy from the tea van feeds the deer so they get tame and hang around creating a tourist attraction and thereby increasing business.

He says it's his customers that feed them and he's been asked to put up notices asking them not to feed the deer.

They are now very unwary and constitute a considerable traffic hazzard. The road at that point is a series of steep bends which are hazzard enough. A82 upgrade is the buzzword here - and not just because of the deer!

http://www.a82.org/

Not sure why he hasn't just been moved on, but then he's been there a long time.

Ian
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www.mountainfreedom.co.uk - Guided walking, scrambling and mountain skills throughout Scotland and further afield

howardfernlover

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #10 on: 12:21:40, 27/11/08 »
Had to get my road atlas out to answer that one, Mike, and the answer is yes, that's the one, on the A82, just above the bends.

watched them one night whilst having my car recovered by the RAC after the suspension came adrift....

Had a VW camper van years ago, wife was trying to put it on some hard standing on a campsite at Portree on Skye, and she couldn't get it in reverse.  I made her get out so I could do it (as us men do), and sure enough the engine roared but the van didn't move. Looking underneath, I found one of the rear prop shafts laying on the floor.

There was a VW agent at Broadford, they sent a Land Rover with a winch on the back.  The guy hooked it on to the rear of our van, gaily turned the handle while nattering to us, and all he succeeded in doing was lifting the front wheels of his LR off the ground!  He then decided to give the van a straight tow from the front, and as he exited the campsite I could see the flat front of our camper going bang, bang, bang against the hoist.

They had to get the new part from Glasgow, and we we stranded in Portree for four days, but when they brought the van back, all the damage to the front had been repaired and resprayed, they never said a word, and the bill was quite low, too.

andybeck

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Re: Knipes First Law of WinterWalking - proven
« Reply #11 on: 13:26:06, 27/11/08 »
Interesting how this thread developed (good photo of the stag BTW) O0
I like to get the most out of the day on the hills especially in the short days of winter. To me a good head torch is a must, it gives you the confidence to get off the hill in dusk.

Andy